Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel

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Discover the Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel, which was once a colonial mansion founded during the mid-16th century.

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Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel, a member of Historic Hotels Worldwide since 2012, dates back to 1573.


A member of Historic Hotels Worldwide since 2012, the Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel is among the best places to stay in Peru. Amazingly, it is also among the country’s most cherished historical buildings, with the Pervuian government even declaring the site an official National Historic landmark in 1980. Nevertheless, the Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel has not always operated as a luxurious holiday destination. Indeed, the building once served as a colonial mansion back during the mid-1500s. It specifically functioned as the lavish residence of Don Domingo de Artaza, one of Cusco’s earliest mayors. It then became the residence for Alonso Pérez de Villarejo, who worked as a dean for the nearby Cusco Cathedral some four decades later. The beautiful home subsequently continued to operate as a brilliant manor house for generations until the last permanent residents left the location in the 20th century. Facing an uncertain future, the structure was fortunately saved a few years later after it was masterfully renovated into a stunning retreat in 2010. Reopened as the “Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel,” the business quickly developed a strong reputation for its spectacular hospitality and unrivaled elegance. But the hotel’s stewards managed to preserve its grand historical character, too, as the building still features many of its original architectural elements. Today, the Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel continues to maintain its status as one of Peru’s finest vacation getaways. Cultural heritage travelers in particular find the hotel to be truly enjoyable, as it is just moments away from numerous historical attractions. The city of Cusco itself has a rich history, having been founded during the 1100s by the Killke people. This amazing international city was later absorbed by the mighty Incan Empire nearly a century later, before becoming a Spanish colonial outpost in the 1533. (Due to the lingering historical presence of both the Incan Empire and early Spanish settlers, Cusco was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.) Visitors today can still feel this rich history for themselves at such renowned local historic sites like the Qurikancha and the Sacsayhuamán.

  • About the Location +

    One of the United Nations’ celebrated UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the city of Cusco is one of the most fascinating places to visit. Its history harkens back generations, specifically to native people like the Chapanata and the Qotakalli. The Killke were among the more enduring ancient societies to inhabit the city, building the forerunner to what would become the sprawling, fortified communal complex known today as “Saksaywaman.” But in the 13th century AD, the Inca arrived in Cusco, making the community the capital for their growing empire. Over the following decades, Cusco became the center for a mighty civilization that extended for some 25,000 miles along the western coastline of South America. Cusco was subsequently filled with thousands of residents, reaching a total of some 200,000 citizens at the height of the empire’s power. The local Inca thoroughly developed the city as such, as local engineers designed an integrated street grid centered around two rivers that ran through the metropolis. One of the most outstanding structures that the Inca created within the city was the temple Qorikancha, the Inca Empire’s main religious complex. Cusco’s urban growth even reached out to the grand Saksaywaman, which the Inca improved significantly. The Inca encased the facility with an imposing series of dry-stone walls, transforming it into a powerful citadel. Nevertheless, the Inca’s influence over Cusco wanned considerably after the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizzaro toppled the empire during the 16th century. Cusco, thus, became one of Spain’s colonial settlements in the “New World” for centuries thereafter, with a wealth of new buildings debuting across the community. Perhaps the most stunning were the Baroque-inspired structures that made their debut in the 17th century, specifically La Merced and La Compania.

    Just outside of Cusco resides the majestic Urubamba Valley, which is often called the “Sacred Valley of the Inca.” Stretching some 70 miles away from the city, its fertile farmland has attracted people for generations. Many civilizations occupied the valley for considerable periods of time, including the Qotacalla and the Killke. All employed the remarkable technique of terraced agriculture, in which farmers excavated a series of artificial levels into the rolling hillside. The terraces specifically operated as a way to improve the available space to harvest crops. The natives grew numerous kinds of food within this impressive system, with the most notable being different types of maize. The locals also created a network of small, rural villages that existed in relative harmony, save for periodic raids from hostile tribes in the nearby jungle. But in the 15th century AD, the might of the Incan Empire began to exert its influence over the Urubamba Valley. Their expansion was gradual, using a combination of military action and diplomacy to incorporate the region into its burgeoning society. Their control of the valley proved short-lived though, as Spanish conquistadors under Francisco Pizzaro conquered the region several decades later. Nevertheless, the Incas brief time ruling the valley was incredibly impactful. Making it the center of their great empire, the Inca erected many unique edifices—like temples and fortresses—across the valley. They subsequently placed a special cultural importance onto the area and referred to it as the “Sacred Valley of the Inca.”

    The most spectacular construct they created was the brilliant Machu Picchu citadel, which many contemporary archeologists believe was created at the behest of the Incan Emperor Pachuachuti. Cloistered atop the summit of a towering mountain, Machu Picchu was an impressive complex that fulfilled a variety of roles ranging from royal residence to religious shrine. Hundreds of workers also migrated to the bastion, who lived there year-round. As such, Machu Picchu essentially operated as its own city! (The remains of Machu Picchu are currently preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.) But the Inca developed additional towns throughout the Valley, as well, which they connected through their now-famous network of roads. All of those new communities still exist and contain their own striking Incan archeological sites. Indeed, the town of Pisac is noteworthy for the sprawling series of ruins that reside just beyond its borders. Perhaps the greatest is the site of Moray, an agrarian compound that some speculate was used to experiment with the region’s system of terraced farming. Another interesting destination is Maras and its historic salt pools. Organized in terraces, too, the pools operated as a mine that produced one of the empire’s primary sources of salt. In fact, the salt mined was employed as a source of official currency in some cases. Thousands of international visitors now travel to the communities every year and spend days investigating the region’s rich Incan heritage. The Urubamba Valley is truly a wonderful place to discover, explore, and experience for any student of world history.

  • About the Architecture +

    Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel still displays the same Spanish colonial architectural aesthetics that first defined it years ago. Also known today as “Spanish Eclectic,” Spanish colonial architecture dates back centuries and is one of the most prolific design aesthetics seen throughout the Americas today. The form itself emerged when the first generations of Spanish colonists began arriving from Europe at the start of the 16th century. Seeking to establish similar settlements to the ones found in their native Spain, the pioneers began to essentially recreate European cities across Mexico. Many of the earliest settlers crafted buildings that combined elements of architectural motifs popular in Spain at the time, including Renaissance, Moorish, and Byzantine forms. Over time, though, those beautiful and extravagant styles were complemented by other, newer forms, such as Neoclassical and Baroque architecture. The amalgamation of all those unique styles eventually produced structures that were incredibly decorative and ornate. But despite the variety in their appearance, they mostly shared the same general layout and qualities. For instance, the buildings typically featured a central courtyard, as well as thick stucco walls that could endure diverse climate of both North and South America. Among the other recognizable features that they possessed included heavy carved doors, spiraled columns, and gabled red-tile roofs, as well. This new stunning architectural form soon defined the landscape of countless Spanish cities in the “New World,” such as Mexico City, Cartagena, and Lima. Many of those buildings still survive to this day, too, with some even preserved as recognized UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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